Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekly Letter: September 7-13, 2010

Another week. I won´t bore you guys in talking the time really flies. Unfortunately, I wasn´t able to have the opportunity to enjoy many fruits this week. The ones I did have I will try to talk about, but I think this week was a week of learning more than anything. I want to tell you guys that I´m not down on myself, never had been. If I sound like I´m a little disappointed in my letters, it probably means that I am a little disappointed, but I´ve never felt like this isn´t where I should be or that I´m wasting time. In fact, everyday, I realize that this is exactly where I need to be, and that time is short and should make the most of it, because for these two years, none of it is mine.

This week, I received a great testimony about the revelation of the Mission President and his Assistants. In our Zone Conference in the las Change, another Model Lesson was introduced. This lesson was designed by the Assistants and the president in order to receive more referrals. It includes a letter with a talk by L. Tom Perry called "Bring Souls to Me"(from April 2009 conference)and other short quotes from Gordon B. Hinckley and Joseph Smith about the necesity of missionary work with the members. At first, I, knowing much of the members thought about each one of them and thought, "I don´t know who would have references." We didn´t teach it very well.

Then came Elder Gamez who already tried and had a testimony about this. We read the letter with several members this week and had more fruits than I thought we would get. One person after the final prayer gave us the list. It had 18 names on it! This came as a surprise because whenever we passed by her house we asked for references and she would say: "I think the other Elders have knocked on all the doors around here and no one has accepted." But this conference talk brought in the right spirit and she chose to give us the references.

I´ve also learned a lot about my teaching. I mentioned in my other letter about an experience with a confirmation after almost "Bible bashing" them. What I have come realize more and more that it wasn´t that at all. It was pure doctrine explained with clarity. We weren´t apologists for the doctrine, the doctrine is black and white. I´ve come to realize that I have been a sort of apologist in the past for the doctrine. I thought I was expressing love to the investigators, but I wasn´t doing that. I was trying to explain the doctrine for something that I saw they were having troubles with in a way that didn´t hurt their feelings...and what do I see? People who love having us around because we talk pretty, but don´t complete their commitments.

So I realized a little bit too late what I was doing. I also tried to spoon feed doctrine to some people. I would take a scripture and try to apply every part of it to their lives exactly....what ended up happening was I ended up blabbing on for a long time, and they just looked at me. That isn´t how the work should be. They need to teach themselves. We explain the doctrine cleanly, purely, plainly, and then let them apply it to their lives....let them see what they need to do in order to apply to their lives.

I continue to marvel at the patience of my companion Elder Gamez with me. I had one such lesson on Saturday where I basically blabbed and blabbed. Afterwards, I realized what I was doing, and tried to get him to save the lesson. He simply bore his testimony on what I said and set another appointment. After the appointment he told me quickly, quietly, but clear as ever that I need to study the doctrine and teach it clear and pure. He said that I would learn soon enough as senior companion(he believes that I´m going to transfer to another area as senior comp....I think it´s wishful-thinking because he doesn´t want to be transferred and become District Leader like everyone says he will be.) that I can´t always rely on my companion to know what to say. I need to study the doctrine to know for myself what I need to say.

Anyway, I think that he´s completely right, and I´m going to take care to study not only from the Book of Mormon, but also from Preach My Gospel and the pamphlets for the lessons that we have.

So I have no time, but thank you all for your prayers and support. Love you all!


Elder Thomas Blackham

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